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2 postdoctoral positions available

Post-doctoral positions in Computational Modelling of Auditory Processing

The Centre for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience, University of Plymouth, UK, are looking for highly qualified candidates for 2 Post-Doctoral positions to work on a 3-year research project SCANDLE: acoustic SCene ANalysis for Detecting Living Entities

The project is funded by the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Union and involves a consortium lead by Dr Sue Denham, Dr Thomas Wennekers (University of Plymouth), in collaboration with Prof István Winkler (Institute for Psychology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Dr Giacomo Indiveri (Institute of Neuroinformatics, University of Zurich), Prof Andreas Andreou, Dr Julius Georgiou (University of Cyprus), and Prof Georg Klump (University of Oldenburg).

The aim is to develop a real-time distributed system that is capable of forming representations of animate entities in the world exclusively through the use of information derived from sounds. The proposed system will use sound in two ways. Firstly, actively, through the emission and processing of sonar signals, the system will detect, identify and classify moving articulated objects in the environment. Secondly, passively, through the categorisation of sounds emitted by the objects themselves, the system will learn to recognise the acoustic communications of living entities and to associate these messages with their movements. Successful achievement of our objectives will result in the development of a proof-of-concept acoustic scene analysis system capable of robust operation in real-world environments and suitable for deployment in situations where visual information may be unavailable, unobtainable or even undesirable. This situated cognitive system is essentially an acoustic analogy to a camera-based visual scene analysis system; one which is particularly suited to detecting the presence and characterising the behaviour of living entities.

Two positions are available at Plymouth:

Post-Doctoral Researcher 1: Computational modelling of perceptual organisation

The aim will be to formulate a model of auditory processing consistent with connectivity in the auditory system, and capable of autonomous perceptual organisation. The model will be developed and evaluated in close collaboration with István Winkler in Hungary and Georg Klump in Germany. Model development will be based upon recent experimental evidence for bistability in auditory streaming, which we interpret as evidence for competition between different interpretations of the incoming sounds. The key problem to solve will be the formation of temporally persistent object representations. Criteria in the model for triggering representations of new objects and for integrating multiple acoustic features will be derived from perceptual experiments conducted in Hungary. This high level model will be used to guide the development of more detailed neurocomputational models of auditory processing.

Post-Doctoral Researcher 2: Detailed models of auditory processing

The principal aim will be to implement a neurocomputational model of auditory processing in a form compatible with neuromorphic VLSI hardware and capable of asynchronous, stimulus-driven, real-time classification of passively detected sounds; i.e. those emitted by entities in the environment. The model will be extended to classify patterns in sounds resulting from active exploration of the environment; i.e. the bio-sonar echoes, and then to form of composite representations of passive and active sources of acoustic information. The researcher will work closely with those responsible for hardware implementation of the system; Giacomo Indiveri in Zurich and Andreas Andreou and Julius Georgiou in Cyprus

Interested candidates are invited to send their CV and a covering letter by email to s.denham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx<mailto:m.denham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Closing date: 31 January 2009

Interviews of short-listed candidates: February 2009

Provisional project start date: 1 March 2009 or as soon as possible thereafter